Day One (Tuesday 25 April – Anzac Day)
6pm: A group of 17
miners start the night shift at Beaconsfield Gold Mine in Northern
Tasmania. 9.25pm: An earthquake registering 2.1 on the Richter scale
hits the state – its epicentre is at Beaconsfield Mine – 14 miners
escape unscathed, three miners, identity as yet unknown, are trapped by
rock fall.

Day Two (Wednesday 26 April)
A desperate rescue bid is launched as union officials name the trapped trio
as Brant Webb, 37, formerly of Bundaberg in Queensland, and now of
Beauty Point near Beaconsfield; Todd Russell, 35; Larry Knight of
Youngtown in Launceston (his age is unknown). Grave fears are held for
their safety.

Day Three (Thursday 27 April)
Beaconsfield Gold Mine manager Matthew Gill tells reporters at the scene that the body of one of the miners, identity as yet unknown, was found at 7.22am. Shortly after 8pm, police identify the body retrieved from the mine as Larry Paul Knight, 44, of Launceston.

Day Four (Friday 28 April)
Crews begin blasting
the first stage of the second rescue tunnel. Rescuers and unions warn
it could take until at least Monday to dig the 36m to reach the two
remaining men, but hopes are fading. Noel Russell, father of Todd,
makes a short statement to the media, telling them he has not given up
hope.

Day Five (Saturday 29 April)
The rescue tunnel to the trapped miners advances 7m. It still has 29m to go to reach the site of the rockfall.

Day Six (Sunday 30 April)
Beaconsfield mining announces at 7.30pm that Todd Russell and Brant Webb have been located
and that “indications are they are still alive”. Rescuers say they
expect to complete their mission and bring Russell and Webb to the
surface over the next few hours. At 5.45pm, the town erupts in
celebration after rescuers make
contact with Russell and Webb
. The pair say they were protected from the rock falls by a large slab of rock that landed on their
cherry-picker cage.

Day Seven (Monday 1 May)
Rescuers reach the pair with a narrow pipe and pump through the first fresh water and food
to the trapped men. Bill Shorten says drilling is likely to start
Wednesday afternoon and is then expected to take 48 hours to complete.

Day Eight (Tuesday 2 May)
Rescue crews are expected to begin drilling a tunnel to reach the miners, and hope to have the miners out by Saturday,
in time for weekend footy. Mine manager Matthew Gill says they have
asked for meat pies and eggs and bacon, but “that’s just not possible”.

Day Nine (Wednesday 3 May)
Hopes are raised that the next 24 hours will see the best progress yet in the rescue mission to free the two miners. Meanwhile, the men are given iPods to help them while away the hours.

Day Ten (Thursday 4 May)
The miners get their first hot food since becoming trapped, home-made chicken soup. Preliminary drilling to prepare a tunnel to freedom for the trapped pair is completed.
A larger passage is now being drilled to get the men out, although this
final stage is considered delicate and potentially dangerous.

Day 11 (Friday 5 May)
Expectations are running high that today could be the last day in the marathon rescue effort to save the two trapped miners.

Day 12 (Saturday 6 May)
Rescue efforts run into a new delay
when vibrations from the giant drilling machine cause instability in
the surrounding rocks. Meanwhile, after hearing Webb requested some of
his tunes on an iPod, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl sends a message of support to the Beaconsfield rescue effort.

Day 13 (Sunday 7 May)
Management at the mine say it’s unlikely two trapped men will be freed tonight,
after rescue crews tell them the rock they are trying to break through
is the hardest they have ever encountered. Gill says the miners remain
in reasonable health.

Day 14 (Monday 8 May)
Rescue teams say there is less than a metre of rock separating them from Webb and Russell.
Bill Shorten will not say when the men could be reached, but it is not
expected before daylight. Close to midnight, the two miners see the first evidence that freedom is imminent – a small probe drilled into their enclosure as rescuers close to within one metre of them.

Day 15 (Tuesday 9 May)
3am: Rescuers break through to the area occupied by the trapped miners, but caution that their return to the surface is still many hours away.

4.47am:
The miners are released from the small cherry-picker cage in which they
had been trapped. Rescuers lead them along a rescue tunnel to a cavern
known as the crib, at 700m, where they shower and undergo initial
medical examinations. Paramedics rate their health as category three –
only one level from ordinary well-being.

5.59am: The two men
step from the shaft cage that reeled them up from the mine. Russell,
who is first out, throws his arms in the air and clocks off. They are
met by family members at the cage door.

They are transferred to
two ambulances and give the thumbs-up sign as they are driven slowly
through the gates of the mine and on to Launceston Hospital, 40km from
Beaconsfield.